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Orange Lutheran stung by loss to Centennial
COSTA MESA – Lj Northington courageously leaped with the ball extended for the end zone on the second to final play but he felt it. A group of defenders sent him flying out of bounds and crashing to the turf.
And after Orange Lutheran was stopped again on the last play, the Lancers felt it.
Never mind that the scoreboard at Orange Coast College didn’t reflect how hard the fourth-ranked Lancers pushed Centennial of Corona, they felt the pain of a 35-14 loss to the reigning Pac-5 Division champions on Friday.
“(I’m) disappointed we didn’t win,” Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen said. “We’re not here to be competitive. We’re not here to make it look good in the end.
“We’re here to win a football game and we prepared that way and I thought we fought our guts out.”
Centennial’s speed and a late interception took the Lancers’ heart.
The Huskies’ trio of quarterback Anthony Catalano, running back J.J. Taylor and wide receiver Javon McKinley ran wild to give Coach Matt Logan his 200th victory. The Lancers (2-1) still had a chance to trim Centennial’s lead to a touchdown late in the fourth quarter but Chacho Ulloa intercepted Northington at the Huskies’ 5 with 3:47 left.
It was the Lancers’ only turnover.
Centennial (3-0) drove for a 13-yard touchdown reception by McKinley, who made a diving grab on fourth-and-8 with just under two minutes left.
McKinley finished with 10 catches for 201 yards. Catalano rushed for 140 yards and passed for 271 while Taylor rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns.
The score was tied, 7-7, at halftime but Catalano broke a 59-yard TD on the first possession. The Huskies scored on their first three drives of the second half, including a 90-yard march after stopping the Lancers on fourth-and-1 at the Centennial 10 with 44 seconds left in the third. The Huskies led, 28-7.
Centennial didn’t commit a turnover in its first two games but the Lancers’ Milshon Lathan collected three in the first half with two fumble recoveries and an interception. His leaping interception at his 35 with 6:35 left in the second quarter sparked the Lancers’ first-half score.
Northington drove Orange Lutheran 60 yards for an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brandon McKinney with 2:22 left on third-and-4.
The Harvard-commit rolled to his left away from the rush and showed nice touch to loft a pass over a defender to McKinney, who was recently offered by UCLA. Northington finished with 252 yards passing.
Lathan also recovered a fumble at his 27 with 28 seconds left in the half as the Lancers stripped Catalano.
Orange Lutheran’s first big defensive stand came late in the first quarter. The Lancers stopped the Huskies on a fourth-and-goal from the 1. On fourth down, TJ Augustin grabbed Catalano for a 1-yard loss.
But Centennial’s defense also was tough and forced Orange Lutheran’s Jerry Fitschen to punt from deep in his end zone. The Huskies took over at the Lancers 32 and drove for a 5-yard touchdown run by Taylor.
Next week, Orange Lutheran plays another state powerhouse when it travels to De La Salle of Concord for a game Saturday.
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